Ashtanga yogis learn Ujjayi pranayama, sometimes called Conqueror’s Breath or Ocean Breath, to help increase the flow of prana in the body. Ujjayi can be very helpful for beginners, because the audible nature of the breathing is an excellent indicator of how the practice is going. If a yogi ceases ujjayi pranayama it may mean that they are straining too hard in a pose, and forgetting to breath. Maintaining ujjayi throughout a vinyasa practice not only keeps the flow of prana moving, but also shows that there is not an excess of physical or mental strain.
The Bikram sequence begins with a pranayama, and ends with a different pranayama. The sequence begins with Standing Deep Breathing, which is good for the lungs and nervous system. This pranayama can help with detoxification and also aids mental relaxation. The sequence ends with the more vigorous Kapalbhati, which is an energizing breathing practice that detoxifies the body and improves oxygenation. These two pranayama practices are integral to the Bikram sequence, and must always be done in Bikram yoga.